Tuesday, 8 November 2011

18 What´s It Called?

Eki always laughs at me, but whenever we start a new project I have to name it. Sometimes we change the title. For example: “Chasing Esa-Pekka” started out being called “Wing on Wing” (one of composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen´s compositions). But the project was so long in the making and he was so hard to pin down that I was literally (by phone and email) chasing him from Los Angeles to London to Helsinki. When I complained to Eki he said that´s what we should call it. And suddenly the whole project came alive.  

Image by jaylopez / sxc.hu, modified by Eki Halkka
Sometimes the titles have visual meaning as well. We were developing  LUCIA: patron saint of light.  Celebrated on the 14th of December, in addition to the modern day story, which Eki found a bit boring and banal, we wanted to convey the bloodiness of the 3rd century virgin Christian martyr who died for her beliefs. With red nail polish I dribbled out the name “Lucia.”  on an off-white card.  In the doc I open a book to tell the story. The title page looks like it was written in her blood. We wanted to convey the dark, pagan, violent side to this yearly celebration that usually features a bevy of young, pretty blond girls. 

Naming a project also helps us to organize the story. “El Gaucho de Högsåra” was a natural. Here was a young Argentinian guy with long dark curly hair living on a (mostly) Swedish speaking island in the Finnish archipelago. It was like he rode in on a horse and brought all his cheerful high-octane Latin energy to the island. He made even the most taciturn old-timers laugh. And somehow you know it won´t last and he´ll ride out again. 

“marihuanaland” just happened.  We tried a bunch of titles but nothing stuck. Then we decided to show how the cannabis business had helped to accelerate Oakland California´s revival. And we made the city part of the story. Someone suggested that we call it “Tokeland.”  But I´m happy we stuck to our guns. Now we´re looking into new projects. We´ll know it´s right when we name it. 

Lesson 23: Name it and the project will have a life of its own. 

Next week: 19 Let´s Eat!

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